Saturday, June 30, 2012

Yard update

After my last post, I met with the pm and the landscape supervisor, who made me repeat my concerns and acted as if it was new information. It had been dragging on 2+ months. They listened and we put together a plan, and executed it within the next week. They acknowledged issues with grading on the side of my house, and put down some new sod and 'filled in' the low part.

I'd also had an issue with my neighbors patio installers cutting my cable line. Don't want to get into that whole story, but when at&t came out to bury the cable, they ripped up my yard and damaged my sprinkler system in 7 places. Seriously? I have videos and pictures, and 1000 bill to repair my mangled/flooded yard. I had an open case with AT&T and hope to be able to get some reimbursement. They did not inform me when they would be there or have the utility lines marked.

On a positive note, we had a paver patio done (via neighbor recommendation) and they kills the weeds in my back and did a raised 400 sq ft patio. We are in love with our new useable backyard. The contractor worked fast and efficiently, and the price was good - we were happy to get that person to put sod in the back part of the yard (after grading and killing weeds)

In conclusion:
1. The pm came through finally.
2. AT&T's cable burying screwed me - open issue, any tips appreciated .
3. Patio, sod done in backyard - ready to use! My third car garage is now nearly empty since I have my table/grill moved to the patio

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Update after 4 months

Can't believe its been 4 months since we closed - we are more 'settled' but have not started painting or decorating too much. We can't decide on colors but are thinking about doing a silver sage or silvermist in the main common space (family room/kitchen/morning room). Once we do some painting and hanging more pictures, I'll post some more pictures.  Our biggest projects have been a sprinkler system, fence, and extending our driveway down all the way from the 3rd car garage (paid Ryan's contractor to do this when they re-did my sidewalks).

I haven't posted yet about our biggest complaint with Ryan - the front/side yard's grading/sod - which is still unresolved. But the PM's are still trying to follow up and get it fixed, so I will give a brief summary and hopefully a follow-up shortly. I am due to meet with the PM later this week. To give the PM's credit, they have been trying to follow up and get the issues resolved, and I do believe that the real issue lies with the landscaping company.  

 We closed in January (in Indiana), so we did not expect the sod to be done until April/May. We had a mild winter, and they ended up having sod for us and another neighbor (a block away from us) in late March. We had just had a sprinkler system installed.

 On the day sod was supposed to go in, the did our neighbor's first - they were at their house first thing in the morning, and probably finished up around 3pm. It's worth noting that my yard is larger than theirs. They got here after 3, and were finished by the time I got home at 6. The sod was already nearly dead (more brown than green). We had to get the landscaper out here to get the sprinkler system up and running, and we were watering 3-4x a day by the 3rd day after the sod was installed. The sod was dead/crunchy, but with a ton of watering, it 'greened up'. Don't ask what my water bill was...

 My real issue was the grading and the time they spent laying the sod. My yard is lumpy all over - especially on the sides and behind my 3rd car garage. My kids can not walk back there without tripping and falling every time. The landscaper (that did my sprinkler system) - not the one Ryan uses - explained that the grade should slope down from the side of the house to the lot line. My 'grade' is basically lumpy. I have been trying to get the PM/Ryan's landscaper to fix the yard for a few months now.

 They blamed 'settlement', but I blame the lack of time/care they spent on my yard. It's also fair to note that about a month ago, they replaced my neighbors sod (the one done the same day as mine). The neighbors did not water like we did (no sprinkler system, and didn't use manual sprinklers either), and their sod went from 'dead' when installed, to 'really dead'. I complained to the PM - as I had been trying to get them to fix mine to no avail, and he said they hadn't closed yet when it was installed, and the 'dead' sod was deemed to be the builder's fault. I am 99% sure the neighbors were living there, and am still irked that they replaced that sod. But hopefully they will come fill some areas with dirt or replace/repair some areas.

 They did claim to 'roll' the yard once, but I swear they did not touch the yard the day they said they did (i.e. our hose was still laying out in the same place - where they should have moved it and rolled the yard). I did pay my landscaper $100 to roll the yard, and that helped a little, but its still not great.

 We got a fence put too - our backyard is growing nicely (still some work to go, but good progress for seed!). Our dog loves it back there, and we love the privacy of the tree-line. Some pictures are below - we are trying to come up with a plan for a paver patio along the back of the yard, and some landscaping where the 'weed patch' is near the back of my yard.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Update after 45 days of living in Victoria Falls

It's been 45 days since we moved in, and we are very happy with our house. I've deferred the 30 day meeting with the Project Managers until at least next week - I've been working 70+ hour weeks at work, and haven't had time to meet (and really haven't had any time to 'live' in the house to notice anything).

The list of compliants I have is short:
-The master bathroom floor is incredibly loud and squeaky (PM is going to look at this at '30 day inspection')
-There are a few minor drywall/touchup issues
-A few cabinets are not aligned right
-The sidewalk is cracked and crumbling at the edges (PM has agreed to tear out sidewalk after 30 day and replace. They have been understanding and apologetic about this. Driveway, porch and walkway to porch are fine.)
-There was no banister on the steps from the garage to the house. This was a major problem for my kids (3 and 1) - they just kind of stand at the stairs and stared at me like "How exactly do you expect me to get down those?". We had a handyman install a banister, so that problem is solved.

Things I'd change if I did it again (and money is no concern in my dream land):
-Put the third window in the middle of the family room. I wish we'd done it, but I'm sure once I hang pictures, it will look better
-Have them dig the basement a foot deeper so I had 9 foot ceilings down there
-Do Elevation E because it's cool and also there are no 'sidelights' next to the front door. Those sidelights are my dog's worst enemy - he can see every one drive by or walk by the house
-Tray ceiling in the dining room. I love the tray ceiling in the Master, and wish I'd done another

Everyone is adjusting well - my kids love their house and their rooms. My dog is an anxious mess during the day and is still not used to the windows, even now that we got blinds.

Since the last post, we haven't done much decorating. I've gotten tons of quotes for fences and patios - and will have that done in April/May once the PM finishes the final grading in the backyard.

The PMs surprised me this week and gave me SOD in the front (which I was NOT expecting until May). They really have done a great job following up with me. They are going to do the final grading and seeding in the back in mid-April.

We also got a sprinkler system put in last week - there is a company who has done a lot in the neighborhood, and his price and service were great. Can't wait to use it - the system is pretty amazing compared to the 1 sprinkler we used with a hose at our last house.

There are a lot of kids and families in the neighborhood, and we're excited about going to the park and the pool in the summer.

Here are a few pictures from my phone - our new yard, my poor tired dog, and my kids enjoying their house:

Saturday, February 18, 2012

2.5 weeks after closing

We have been busy unpacking and getting settled - love our house and neighborhood. We won't have sod until spring so that sucks with a dog - but we knew that would be the case. Pm finished our grading and did the plant package, and we are currently looking into a fence and patio. The advice I've heard it that it would be good to have that done before they sod/seed, so I'm aiming for that.

We haven't painted yet and I don't really have many decorating ideas yet. We had 2.5 inch faux wood blinds put on all the windows and that went great. All of our old furniture goes well, and we have lots of room to grow.

Here are a few pics of our new home:

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

In the last week, we've closed, moved in, and had a handy man do a handful of moving in projects. The house is beautiful and huge, and we love it. Our kids are adjusting well. Our dog will feel better once there are blinds on the window (he is a nervous wreck seeing and hearing everything that goes on outside the house).

In the week after closing, we've had:
-Ceiling fans installed in all 4 bedrooms and morning room
-2 garage door openers installed
-Water softener put in
-Battery back up sump pump installed
-Humidifier installed (incorrectly the first time...the HVAC company we used actually used duct tape to secure it to the furnace...and it fell off within 24 hours...but they fixed it correctly - with screws and sheet metal)
-Curtain rods and black out shades put up in kids rooms
-King bed delivered
-Fridge and washer/dryer delivered and installed

Also, the Ryan crew has done the final grading and put in the plant package (a week after closing). I'm glad that they did that so there is less they have to do in the spring.

We have been using paper blinds from home depot in the meantime - and they work great for a short-term solution. We are using Home Depot's installation service for blinds - installed later this week.

Here are some phone quality random pictures - including all the boring mechanical things we had installed this week - water softener, back up sump pump, dehumidifier. The bottom picture is the totally botched humidifier job ( The basement is empty right now, and the garage is half full of boxes. But we are on our way to being settled.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

House is ours!

We closed yesterday - it went smooth and closing took about 40 minutes. We did a final walkthrough right before closing, and everything looked good.

We aren't able to get sod or grass seed until spring, but the PM did get the lot graded so that's good. He said he may get the plant package in this week. I'm not looking forward to having no yard until spring, but that's what I get for closing in January. Oh well.

Overall experience - both SR and PM had been very responsive. There are a few things we weren't thrilled with (i.e. the location of the water heater/furnace blocking the path to my storage area), but overall, the house is just want we wanted.

Working with NVR was great for us - they required more documentation that the first time we bought a house, but they were on top of the information, and we were cleared to close a full week before closing (the papers were just sitting at the title company). I was expecting some last minute requests, but they never came.

We got a good mortgage rate - closing costs were higher than I would've paid if I had went elsewhere for a mortgage, but only by a few thousand (so using NVR to get the incentives of nearly 20K was worth it).

Today the movers are coming with our belongings that have been in storage since October - so that is very exciting for us to see our stuff again. I'll try to post some final walkthrough but before-moving pictures soon. But here's a few from my phone:

Monday, January 30, 2012

Closing tomorrow

We are set to close tomorrow at 1pm - we had our final walkthrough on Friday, and everything was good. We've signed the contract with Ryan in August, so it feels like this has been such a long time. But, once we finally get the keys tomorrow, we are going to hop in the car and drive downtown Indy to the Super Bowl Village and spend the rest of the day there - not at our brand new house. Haha. We'll move this weekend.

As I'd guessing, I did not do a good job on the 7 day countdown - so I'll do the last three now.

#3 - Neighborhood and location - we have a tree lined yard on a private cul-de-sac street (not at the end of cul-de-sac as we'd originally hoped - most of those lots were just too small or didn't fit our house with a 3 car garage). We're excited to live in a neighborhood with a park and pool, and lots of young families. The Ryan homes are probably on the lower price range for the neighborhood, but I'm OK with that.

The school district is great. Our lot is in the middle of the neighborhood - away from traffic and busier streets. I drove through a nearby new construction neighborhood, and the houses felt like they shared backyards and were on top of each other. I'm glad the lots in our neighborhood are all either tree-lined or overlooking a pond.

#2 - Master 'suite' - we have 2 closets, a big bedroom with tray ceilings, and a nice sized master bath. We are excited to get a King Bed, and enjoy our new space (where we won't fight over closet space).

#1 - Family room with fireplace and 4 ft extension - these are the upgrades that I fought my husband for (he wanted them, I said they were a waste of $$$). I'll eat my words and say I was wrong - and I'm glad he won the argument. We will love the fireplace, and the 4 ft extension was awesome - gave us more space in the family room and the media room downstairs. I can't wait to enjoy a glass of wine sitting by the fireplace this weekend.

No pictures for this post, but hopefully I'll get a ton of pics tomorrow when we walkthrough before closing. I will post pictures after moving too - I'm sure the house will be a mess for awhile - and we have NOWHERE enough furniture to fill the house, but it'll be a work in progress this year.

Congrats to everyone else closing soon, can't wait to see everyone's pictures.

Once I close, I'll post some opinions on NVR and Ryan - I don't want to jinx myself beforehand.